How to Build an Outbound Sales Team

When it’s done right, there is no better source for new and predictable revenue than outbound sales. It’s a beautiful thing when your team is dialed in: the right leads are being targeted, the messaging is catching their attention, and pipeline is being created.

The only trouble is, building that well-oiled outbound machine is hard.

There’s a lot to know when you embark on this journey – in fact, the topic of how to build an outbound sales team could easily fill the pages of a book (or two!). But you have to start somewhere, right?

So rather than delving into every outbound nuance and tactic, I thought I’d instead share an effective framework for those early days of outbound: specifically, how to build and prep your team for the battle to come.

Building Your Team

The Ideal Candidate

This is an issue companies of all sizes struggle with. That’s because far too often managers try and hire experienced candidates for Sales Development Rep jobs. What those managers fail to recognize, however, is that this is a junior role.

We suggest bringing on new college grads, or candidates just one or two years into their career, looking for experience and to build their resume. Younger salespeople, typically, haven’t formed any bad habits, so it’s easier to train them and build the right foundation for a long future in sales.

The On-boarding Process

Once you bring on new team members, it’s imperative you invest in your on-boarding process. That means: take the time to ensure your reps understand the importance of prospecting and specialized inbound and outbound sales roles, what your product does, and why your customers give you money for that product.

Remember: people don’t buy product features and innovative specs – they buy software because it helps them do something awesome.

Finally, your on-boarding process should last about 3 months. That’s right, 3 months. Initially, that process should be very hands-on – new reps and managers should spend a lot of time together. But, as reps get more comfortable on the job, that cadence should taper off to regular weekly check-ins and one-on-ones, with some extra hand-holding if needed.

Prepping Your Team

Having an SDR playbook built out and fully documented ahead of time will do wonders for preparing your team.

SDR Playbook

Your documentation should have an account list, a breakdown of your internal sales process, detailed customer personas, and tailored messaging for each buyer type. Customers love being spoken to in their unique, industry-specific language. If you don’t have that data, don’t worry, take some time to interview your customers. You can even include your new reps in those calls (for those interested, we’ve compiled some effective customer interview questions).

We’ve been lucky to chat with dozens of sales leaders that have designed comprehensive playbooks, but none more than Rigor’s Business Development Manager Sarah Affleck.

Her inspiring playbook is a testament to what can be done, but if you’re only getting started, just make sure the basics are in place:

  • a synopsis of all the roles on the team
  • a succinct description of where your meetings / leads come from
  • qualifying questions
  • your various sales stages and the exit criteria for each stage (what it takes for each lead to move from discovery to opportunity, for instance)
  • a breakdown of the tools you use
  • any internal best practices you’ve developed

Of course, each of these concepts will come up over the course of on-boarding. They have to. But, having them in a document – a document your reps can refer to whenever they need – is a huge benefit. So take the time up front and put a playbook together. Your reps will thank you, and your quest to build a successful outbound sales team will be well on its way.

This is a guest contribution by Collin Stewart of Predictable Revenue. Interested in contributing to the CloserIQ blog? Check out our guidelines here.

Collin Stewart

Collin Stewart is Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Predictable Revenue, and host of our weekly podcast where he interviews B2B sales leaders on the biggest opportunities and challenges in the industry.
Fun fact: Collin refereed hockey in order to pay rent during the first few years of starting the company.